Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Mike Boone at Habs Inside/Out,
Are your Montreal Canadiens a better team today than they were when the weekend began?
For sure. The acquisition of Alex Tanguay saw to that.
Are your Montreal Canadiens poised to make a serious run at the Stanley Cup in their centennial season?
They need three autographs on contracts: Mats Sundin. Andrei Kostitsyn. Jaroslav Halak.
from Pierre LeBrun of the CP via the Globe and Mail,
The free-agent market isn’t terribly deep in talent this year, a product of many younger players opting for the security of long-terms deals since the end of the lockout. That’s a huge bonus to players like Hossa and Malone, who will probably fetch more than their actual worth this summer because the demand will outweigh the supply of Grade A talent.
The salary cap is expected to rise by $5 million to $7 million, not only giving big-market teams more financial capital to dispense but also forcing low-payroll teams to reach the minimum floor under the cap. The cumulative effect is that a lot of teams will be spending.
“We need to add a couple of defencemen, either through free agency or trade,” Columbus Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson said in identifying his potential shopping spree.
from Sean Allen at ESPN,
With those thoughts in mind, let’s look at the teams that likely will change the most, go over the holes they have—- or will have—and how they could go about filling them, with a fantasy twist:...
Colorado Avalanche: To reassemble the 1996 Stanley Cup team yet again or to not reassemble the 1996 Cup team? That is the question. Peter Forsberg, Adam Foote and captain Joe Sakic will be on the open market July 1, but it’s more likely all three would retire before moving to another franchise. Also hitting the free-agent list is top defenseman John-Michael Liles, goaltender Jose Theodore and top-six winger Andrew Brunette. Yes, the Avalanche have some serious decisions to make before they can consider some of the other players on the market, and some of those decisions rival the decision fantasy owners will have to make with respect to these players.
from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
But what Cherry should be wondering—and what we should be wondering—is why he has not yet been recognized by the Hall. Like him or hate him, there is no disputing the impact Cherry has had on hockey.
In a country that is all about hockey, he owns the loudest voice and the most recognized face.
more and other NHL bits…
from Lisa Dillman of the LA Times,
Burke could find out about Niedermayer’s status today, as to whether he will play next season or retire. “His wife had a baby yesterday,” Burke said. “I’m pretty sure talking to me is not high on his list of things to do.”
Then there’s the other veteran defenseman in Southern California, captain Rob Blake. Kings’ GM Dean Lombardi says he already has met with the 38-year-old Blake and will have additional discussions with him this week.
Blake will be an unrestricted free agent on July 1, as will another former Kings’ defenseman, Brad Stuart, who was sent to the Stanley Cup champion Red Wings at the trade deadline in February.
The Kings can’t say whether they would make a run at Stuart yet because of tampering rules, but he was considered a good fit in the dressing room.
from Brad Schrade of the Tennessean,
The Predators’ situation is the first of its kind involving a minority ownership. In the other cases, bankruptcy trustees worked with the NHL to find a replacement owner, relying on the league to help with leads to potential buyers.
It’s unclear whether Del Biaggio underwent the tough scrutiny of a background check in 2002 when he bought a small stake in the San Jose Sharks. The league confirmed that he underwent a background check for the Predators purchase.
“You do all the things you can do to verify certain things,” said Bill Daly, NHL deputy commissioner. “You go through the checks. The bottom line is, no red flags came up.”
from Ed Willes of the Vancouver Province,
Thirteen trades were made involving 15 teams on Friday and among the players moved were Cammalleri, Umberger, Jokinen and Alex Tanguay. Another 14 deals were made Friday, most of which, admittedly, involved draft picks.
And the Canucks weren’t involved in any of them.
“I’ve said from the outset we want to win as quickly as possible but it’s tough to get those players,” said Gillis. “We’re working on a bunch of different things and we’ll have an opportunity on July 1 (when the market opens for unrestricted free agents). If you can’t get it done this way you can get it done another way.”
But a lot of things were done in Ottawa this weekend. They just weren’t done by the Canucks.
from Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe,
Now, the tea leaves. Given that only a small percentage of players work beyond their late 30s, a man of Lecavalier’s age, and riches already banked, is probably looking at no more than an eight-year extension, bringing him to age 37. The league soon will announce that a max deal, based on leaguewide revenues and the salary-cap figure, will be pegged around $11 million a year.
Exposed in the free agent market next summer, Lecavalier likely would entice at least a couple of suitors (are you listening, Montreal?) to offer him a max deal. To remain in Tampa, where many of his extended family members have moved in recent years, he probably would lock in around eight years at $80 million.
more NHL talk…
from Michael Arace of the Columbus Dispatch,
We’ve come a long way in Columbus. The annual draft, a time of rebirth and promise, has turned into another opportunity to rip management. That is practically Canadian.
Fans understand that franchise sustenance depends largely on drafting well and stocking the farm system. But after eight spotty drafts and seven losing seasons, the Jackets remain a nondescript team, and nobody cares how many quality fifth-round picks and third-line forwards they have.
The Jackets need players.
from Mike Zeisberger of the Toronto Sun,
While Gainey usually wears a poker face whenever prodded to reveal such plans, a source close to the Habs GM suggested he might wing across the Atlantic for a face-to-face chat with Sundin as early as Wednesday.
Whatever Gainey does, this much is certain: The two teams do have a deal in place in the event Sundin signs with Montreal. There is speculation that Toronto might receive a 2009 first-round pick in return, but that, to this point, is merely draft-floor speculation.
About 15 minutes before Gainey had his chat with the hordes of reporters at Scotiabank Place yesterday, Leafs general manager Cliff Fletcher was being peppered with Sundin queries of his own.
“I talked (to Mats),” Fletcher said. “I just have to do my job and do what’s best for the Toronto Maple Leafs. It is what it is.
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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